Mirna Vlahovic wanted to start the first crowdfunding platform in Croatia. However, she knew that the failure rate of new business is very high. One of the main factors is lack of experience, which was present in her case as well. One way to help stack the odds in her favor was by gaining some industry experience, and the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs exchange programme was the perfect opportunity for her. Mirna found Philipp Walz, an entrepreneur from Austria who runs a crowdfunding platform called Respekt.net. A perfect match for ideas and experience for her new business, Mirna knew that she would learn a lot from Philipp and also present him fresh ideas she already had. On the other hand, Philipp would study other crowdfunding-sites, identify the differences and find better ways to his crowdfunding business.
In Austria, Mirna’s task was to develop an appropriate marketing plan, define a detailed financial management plan for her new business, get to know with the possibilities of external funding (e.g. grants) and the HEs customers experience. She has researched around 40 crowdfunding platformes throughout Europe (and the world) that enabled her to get insight into different business models and marketing strategies of various platformes. She also participated in the organisation of various events (e.g. CrowdTuesday) and became familiar with this aspect of marketing activities, while also participated in the organisation of a competition (Orte des Respekts), which serves to attract potential project initiators and help them start their crowdfunding campaigns. After that Mirna learned about the administrative part of the business and was particularly interested in the archiving process of the projects, which have been launched on the crowdfunding platform.
Mirna contributed Philipp’s company a lot with her knowledge of foreign languages, which helped Phillip to access new markets and approach new investors and clients. She assisted with translation with her previous experience and ideas so the company benefited from a fresh pair of eyes. Philip, and Mirna, as a New Entrepreneur who intends to do business in the same field, developed a business relationship and learned from each other about each other’s respective market. She is now able to significantly improve her business plan and has found out of different services (SaaS crowdfunding platform, open source platforms, WordPress for crowdfunding platforms etc.) which eliminate the need to develop the platform by herself. She has also found out a lot about associations founding companies in order to carry out projects. With all that experience, Mirna now has a quality and stable start for her business.